June 20, 2021

Female terrorist walks into Waterford Garda station and asks: ‘Where is the FBI department?’

The convicted female terrorist now infamously known as ‘Jihadi Jane’ walked into Waterford Garda Station and asked a stunned officer where she could find “the FBI department”.

The bizarre incident is recalled in a new documentary, Jihadi Jane, by Irish filmmaker and journalist Ciaran Cassidy.

Recalling the events that led to the arrest of Colleen LaRose, the American woman who called herself ‘Jihad Jane’ on the internet, and was later jailed for trying to recruit Islamic terrorists, Mr Cassidy said: “She told me that when she was in Waterford and she left the apartment, she went up to the Garda station there looking for the FBI department. So when she walked in the guy behind the desk was really confused about what she wanted, so she headed off and sent the email from the library. That’s how surreal this story was. Somebody is wandering around Waterford looking for an FBI department.”

In 2010 LaRose was charged with trying to recruit Islamic terrorists. She was accused of taking part in an international conspiracy to kill Lars Vilks, the Swedish cartoonist who sparked a global controversy in 2007 for his depiction of the Prophet Muhammad as a dog.

LaRose and another American woman, Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, and an Irish citizen, Algerian-born Ali Charafe Damache, were among a number of people arrested in Waterford in March 2010 in an incident that made headline news across the globe.

Cassidy’s film tells how LaRose’s strange mission took her to a bedsit above a Chinese restaurant in Waterford, where she Ramirez, and Damache plotted to enforce a fatwa on Lars Vilks. But after six frustrating weeks LaRose went to the authorities to blow the whistle on the entire plot.

LaRose returned to Philadelphia, only to end up in prison herself. She was released from prison in 2018 and is now a Trump supporter living in anonymity.

Before her brief, botched career as a self-styled jihadist, she lived a harrowing life. The new film reveals how she was raped repeatedly by her biological father from the age of seven before running away in her early teens. She drifted into prostitution, and by 15 she had married one of her johns. A second abusive marriage followed, plus years of substance abuse and a suicide attempt in 2005, the documentary reveals.

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